Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Next race: Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai

Pity the F1 fool // Be careful what you believe on the internet

Published by Ryan Gault

Twitter can highlight both the best and the worst of F1 on the internet.

I could fool you. I could fool the whole world if I wanted to. It would only take a little bit of effort and time, and possibly a bit of luck, to do it. The funny thing would be that hardly anyone would question it; they would believe every single word that had been written down in front of them.

In 2009, Twitter took off big time. It does indeed feel like the majority of the world is on it. There are, admittedly, some very good uses for using the service, especially if you are a fan of Formula 1 (which I suspect you are, considering you are on this site). Follow the right people, and you are given the latest information within seconds of it being released to the media. Instead of having to wait for an article to appear on Autosport, it is out on Twitter and can be discussed even before the first update on that page is out on the internet.

But that is only if you manage to follow the right people.

Peter Sauber. In my own mind a simple legend, of course, I am totally biased. He is, of course, the owner of the returning Sauber team. Now, I don’t wish any offence onto the great man, but can you really see him being the type who uses Twitter? No, I can’t see it either. Perhaps his son, Alex Sauber might be the type (now in charge of the team’s marketing activites).

So I do indeed wonder why a certain Formula 1 “news” agency opted to pick up on the fact that Peter Sauber, on an unverified twitter account, said the following:

...second driver to be announced next week. The team is ready to work. happy new year.

This was posted on the 30th December 2009. Sauber has only just confirmed Pedro de la Rosa this week.

Amazingly, when a certain “news” company picked it up, it spread round the internet quicker than Usain Bolt down 100m. It didn’t take long for a reliable account, in the form of Jonathan Noble, of Autosport, to make a quick check with the real Peter Sauber, to prove it was a simple fake account.

To fool the world, though. It does sound like a bit of a challenge, doesn’t it? You would think it may require me to be on the television. Or indeed, turn into a taxi driver and spot Cristiano Ronaldo walking out of White Hart Lane (fans of the BBC live text of transfer deadline day will know what I am talking about).

In fact, all it needs is a half decent connection to the internet, a Twitter account and the ability to use hashtags. When Tom G suggested in the comments that we should lead a certain “news” company up the garden path, the following tweet, on my own Twitter account, followed:

I've heard from some sources that Campos Meta will announce Vitaly Petrov as their new driver. Bringing in 7million euros to the team #f1

I can confirm that I have no sources inside the F1 paddock. I will also happily say that seven million Euros was plucked from the air. I don’t know however if Vitaly Petrov will go to Campos Meta 1 or not. That will have to be seen in the future. What I love about my rumour, is that it is perfectly possible, but the way to spread a good rumour is the use of a hashtag. Some F1 fans that use Twitter do indeed follow the #f1 hashtag to possibly catch up on the news.

Originally, I was disappointed at the end of the Sunday evening, that only five non-Sidepodcast people had retweeted that message. I was indeed sure that more had read it. I’ll take this time to apologise to the people who believed that message, yes, I did lead you all up a one way street. Block me if you like.

I did think all was lost, but that was until Tom (once again) came across a link on a Spanish speaking website. Although the use of Google Translator was required, it did appear that the main structure of my tweet was involved. Seven million Euros is indeed mentioned, with a company called Megafon, which is a Russian mobile phone operator.

Easy. Too easy. I could do it again if I wanted to as well, I bet some people won’t read this article properly, so won’t realise that when I say:

Ralf Schumacher is going to USF1.

That I am totally lying. It won’t happen but a select bunch of people don’t read the whole story. That is the important thing, the whole story.

My tweet could have easily been caught out; it was on my own account, in the middle of me discussing the West Ham v Arsenal game on at that time. Odd timing for a breaking news story. I have clearly no previous history of correctly breaking Formula 1 stories and I never backed it up with anything.

Check the sources, how important is that. I’m stating the obvious but probably 90% of Formula 1 fans on the internet don’t know about the best and worst places. Sidepodcast sorted that out a year ago, a page which is still relevant today. Sadly, the “news” sources which produce the most incorrect stories still seem to end up everywhere I go. Be it something like the BBC Sport website, a forum or even in general chat with friends. (When football isn’t the main discussion)

So if you are reading an article with a three letter abbreviation or a certain German newspaper near it, it is more than likely to be incorrect. If you see something on Twitter, not by an inside source, or a journalist, again, it is likely to be incorrect.

The internet. Used by bunch of liars. Me included.




  • *Claps*

    Bravo sir!

  • Agreed, well put RG

  • Well said. It is very easy to be led up the garden path when news is near-instantaneous.

  • Very very good. Great article.

  • Thank you all :)

    When I originally typed this article, nobody had been confirmed at Sauber. Pedro was confirmed literally the next day.

  • Wow. This is an excellent article, RG. Now I know who to turn to when I want to start a rumour.

  • Well said. It is very easy to be led up the garden path when news is near-instantaneous.

    the faster it arrives, the harder it is to quantify.

    another issue, is that no search engine can figure out how to rank anything this fast. at the moment RG has equal status to AUTOSPORT. that's makes him a powerful person.

  • Wow. This is an excellent article, RG. Now I know who to turn to when I want to start a rumour.

    :D

  • another issue, is that no search engine can figure out how to rank anything this fast. at the moment RG has equal status to AUTOSPORT. that's makes him a powerful person.

    I am so not going to live that down.

  • another issue, is that no search engine can figure out how to rank anything this fast. at the moment RG has equal status to AUTOSPORT. that's makes him a powerful person.

    I am so not going to live that down.

    RGSPORT

  • another issue, is that no search engine can figure out how to rank anything this fast. at the moment RG has equal status to AUTOSPORT. that's makes him a powerful person.

    I am so not going to live that down.

    GAULTOSPORT

    hah!

  • GAULTOSPORT

    "making up the news, so you don't have to"

  • another issue, is that no search engine can figure out how to rank anything this fast. at the moment RG has equal status to AUTOSPORT. that's makes him a powerful person.

    How fast can they rank it?

  • "making up the news, so you don't have to"

    Watch your backs GMM.

  • How fast can they rank it?

    i don't know (or rather, they're not saying). if you search google for "sidepodcast", and then tweet something with "sidepodcast" in the message, it will appear in the real-time box. doesn't matter who you are, or what you say.

    same deal with twitter search.

    we follow the hashtag #f1 as rg mentions in his post, and i saw his original and several retweets go by on my screen. all given equal status.

  • i don't know (or rather, they're not saying). if you search google for "sidepodcast", and then tweet something with "sidepodcast" in the message, it will appear in the real-time box. doesn't matter who you are, or what you say.

    I don't see a realtime box

  • I don't see a realtime box

    oh hang on

  • I don't see a realtime box

    oh hang on

    Why does a search for 'sidepodcast' come up with a box and a search for a random word like 'window' not?

  • Why does a search for 'sidepodcast' come up with a box and a search for a random word like 'window' not?

    it's a trial at the moment, but you'll get the same effect here: http://search.twitter.com/

    the point is, it's a flat search. my f1 tweets, your f1 tweets, everybody's f1 tweets all appear equally. that maybe a good thing, but then people are likely more easily duped.

  • i don't know (or rather, they're not saying). if you search google for "sidepodcast", and then tweet something with "sidepodcast" in the message, it will appear in the real-time box. doesn't matter who you are, or what you say.

    I just tried that and you're right. That is very spooky.

  • Although annoying, this is not a new thing. Twitter is just making things worse, and one of the reason I don't use it.

    I'm sure many will have noticed the announcement of the death of various "celebs" over the past year, due to rumors from Twitter. F1 scuttlebutt is tame by comparison. Consider the source, it has always been that way.

    I hope this blog post will lead people to consider everything they read critically. The media is often used for propaganda, from all sorts of places. Unfortunately these days is seems journalists have less and less respect for the public.

  • Why does a search for 'sidepodcast' come up with a box and a search for a random word like 'window' not?

    it's a trial at the moment, but you'll get the same effect here: http://search.twitter.com/

    the point is, it's a flat search. my f1 tweets, your f1 tweets, everybody's f1 tweets all appear equally. that maybe a good thing, but then people are likely more easily duped.

    I think if you search for F1 you'll get a snapshot of what people are talking about at the time, true or not. That's how it should be. I don't want Google or a social networking provider to be the arbiter of what is right and wrong. Their job is to show what's out there.

  • I just tried that and you're right. That is very spooky.

    it might lead to problems, it might not.

    something else that might be an issue, is we have our f1 twitter list, which features people we trust. if a tweet appears there, we automatically rank the authority higher than if it appeared in general search.

    ...but RG is on that list :)

  • Serious journalist( maybe Sidepodcast?) should create website with verification

    I cant find Wiki verifications, probably they stop after Twitter Gate :)

    F1Fanatic create a list www.f1fanatic.co.…ation/f1-twitter/

    Trying find the truth on my blog, but it is still hard to recognized

  • I think if you search for F1 you'll get a snapshot of what people are talking about at the time, true or not. That's how it should be. I don't want Google or a social networking provider to be the arbiter of what is right and wrong. Their job is to show what's out there.

    you say that, but google is an arbiter of right and wrong, when it comes to every normal search you perform on google.com. so presumably that doesn't bother you?

  • you say that, but google is an arbiter of right and wrong, when it comes to every normal search you perform on google.com. so presumably that doesn't bother you?

    Why is google and arbiter of right and wrong? It's a collator and ranker of what's out there, that's all.

  • Serious journalist( maybe Sidepodcast?) should create website with verification

    we're certainly not journalists, but we can create a page like that. currently we have this list - http://twitter.com/sidepodcast/f1/ - but there's no harm in putting it into a page.

    Trying find the truth on my blog, but it is still hard to recognized

    always good to hear. and telling people like this is a good start.

  • Why is google and arbiter of right and wrong? It's a collator and ranker of what's out there, that's all.

    it flags pages that contain malware and warns you away. it will drop people out of the index for trying to game its system and it ranks all pages.

    admittedly it's not smart enough to figure out f1 rumour from f1 fact, but it is shaping the results it gives. when it comes to realtime search, it doesn't appear to be.

  • you say that, but google is an arbiter of right and wrong, when it comes to every normal search you perform on google.com. so presumably that doesn't bother you?

    No it isn't. It currently doesn't decide who is right, only what is popular.

    By saying you'd rather not have everything ranked equally I take that to mean you'd like them to introduce some form of 'trusted' or 'verified' system? Who decides that and how do new providers get in on it five years down the line when there are 15 pages of trusted links?

  • ...but RG is on that list :)

    And this is where the problems start. If RG gains credibility because Sidepodcast trust him, then others will do so as well.

    Take a look at some of the Apple rumours sites (which I never read) and you'll see that they tend to rate the possible accuracy of stories based on the previous form of the source, which has its own issues.

    Remember the story of the 1 o'clock gun?

  • And this is where the problems start. If RG gains credibility because Sidepodcast trust him, then others will do so as well.

    Well, _I_ don't trust that guy. He looks shifty.

  • And this is where the problems start. If RG gains credibility because Sidepodcast trust him, then others will do so as well.

    he told us on spc what he was planning to do before he did it. but i do agree it's another issue.

  • Well, _I_ don't trust that guy. He looks shifty.

    I appear to have gained a reputation

  • I appear to have gained a reputation

    on the basis of one article? good going!

  • on the basis of article? good going!

    no, on the basis of his shifty look.

  • And this is where the problems start. If RG gains credibility because Sidepodcast trust him, then others will do so as well.

    Aren't you people missing the point of his blog post? I don't see this as a problems. He's trying to tell you to think for yourself, and stop accepting rumors, maybes and what-ifs as truth.

  • No it isn't. It currently doesn't decide who is right, only what is popular.

    If Google can censor their site for use by China, then they can certainly massage the results everywhere else. Does anyone remember the search engine aggregators that would go off and perform the same search on multiple sites?

  • no, on the basis of his shifty look.

    (of course, I am just joking, haven't fully read his blog post yet)

  • If Google can censor their site for use by China, then they can certainly massage the results everywhere else. Does anyone remember the search engine aggregators that would go off and perform the same search on multiple sites?

    Do you remember web search before Google, and how long it took to find good info at times?

  • Aren't you people missing the point of his blog post? I don't see this as a problems. He's trying to tell you to think for yourself, and stop accepting rumors, maybes and what-ifs as truth.

    of course, and he's 100% correct.

  • Aren't you people missing the point of his blog post? I don't see this as a problems. He's trying to tell you to think for yourself, and stop accepting rumors, maybes and what-ifs as truth.

    I'm not missing the point, but there will be many people out there who will because they won't have read RG's article or the general comments.

  • of course, and he's 100% correct.

    RG = Brian Cohen.

  • Aren't you people missing the point of his blog post? I don't see this as a problems. He's trying to tell you to think for yourself, and stop accepting rumors, maybes and what-ifs as truth.

    The problem is a lot of people seem to take tweets and rumours at face value, even the first things they see.

  • I'm not missing the point, but there will be many people out there who will because they won't have read RG's article or the general comments.

    and they probably read "Womens Magazines" as well. Takes all sorts.

  • and they probably read "Womens Magazines" as well. Takes all sorts.

    That's not fair, nor what I meant. I'm sure many more people are watching #f1 on Twitter than will read this particular article on a relatively obscure (sorry Mr and Mrs C*) website.

    *Still the best F1 website around, of course :)

  • The problem is a lot of people seem to take tweets and rumours at face value, even the first things they see.

    not wanting to give RG ideas, but multiple twitter accounts (which can be set up for free), re-tweeting his own made-up message would further solidify rumour as fact in many people's minds.

    we see that a lot with GMM. five or six sites all run a nonsensical story and because the story is visible in several places, fans begin to believe it. that the content all came from the original source is apparently irrelevant.

  • not wanted to give RG ideas, but multiple twitter accounts (which can be set up for free), re-tweeting his own made-up message would further solidify rumour as fact in many people's minds.

    Thought about it. Decided not to because of the general time I'd take in doing it.

  • Thought about it. Decided not to because of the general time I'd take in doing it.

    talk about a half-hearted rumour :)

  • That's not fair, nor what I meant. I'm sure many more people are watching #f1 on Twitter than will read this particular article on a relatively obscure (sorry Mr and Mrs C*) website.

    Sorry about that.

    Let me out this another way. I thought RG did a great blog post. It's about time people started thinking for themselves a bit more and trusting the Interwebs a bit less. Twitter et al are no more reliable than some bloke on the street, and there is no reason to think otherwise.

  • talk about a half-hearted rumour :)

    :)

    Though if you wanted to make it ultra realistic you are going to have to make each account at different times, comment regualarily and such.

  • not wanted to give RG ideas, but multiple twitter accounts (which can be set up for free), re-tweeting his own made-up message would further solidify rumour as fact in many people's minds.

    I generally try not to retweet news/rumour unless there is a link to back it up, unless from a Journo. I think it is part of a wider culture on Twitter particularly - you see mainstream news stories now where people have to issue releases denying X happened purely because someone started a rumour on Twitter.

  • Let me out this another way. I thought RG did a great blog post. It's about time people started thinking for themselves a bit more and trusting the Interwebs a bit less. Twitter et al are no more reliable than some bloke on the street, and there is no reason to think otherwise.

    It's the old adage - intelligence is realising that half of what you read in the papers is rubbish.

    Genius is knowing which half.

  • Twitter et al are no more reliable than some bloke on the street, and there is no reason to think otherwise.

    i disagree. there are trustable (is that a word?) people on twitter, who know more about f1 than the man on the street. although no-one will ever get everything right, and i realise accounts can always be compromised.

    however, you have to accept that when it comes to figuring out who was fastest in testing... thinking for yourself isn't going to get you very far.

  • we see that a lot with GMM. five or six sites all run a nonsensical story and because the story is visible in several places, fans begin to believe it. that the content all came from the original source is apparently irrelevant.

    I don't know how to combat this given their weight of numbers.

  • I appear to have gained a reputation

    Is it mine or are they just giving them away these days? ;)

  • FWIW this post got a retweet from Autosport's tech guy, via Gavin... :-)

  • I don't know how to combat this given their weight of numbers.

    in truth you can't. it's a fact of life, some people actually enjoy the made-up stuff. and where there's demand, someone can always supply.

  • Is it mine or are they just giving them away these days? ;)

    :D I think you have one of your own.

  • i disagree. there are trustable (is that a word) people on twitter, who know more than the man on the street. no-one will ever get everything right, and accounts can always be compromised.

    Trying to type your thoughts is useless isn't it? I just knew you would pick up on that.

    You are right, of course. I was saying that in the context of the discussion. I know Twitter is great for things like live info on test times, I just hate all the noise.

  • in truth you can't. it's a fact of life, some people actually enjoy the made-up stuff. and where there's demand, someone can always supply.

    See my earlier post on the Apple rumours site. The hype that is generated is like the Harry Potter book launches but with no defined ending.

  • You are right, of course. I was saying that in the context of the discussion. I know Twitter is great for things like live info on test times, I just hate all the noise.

    it's not for everyone. i'm honestly not a huge fan either. but there's no denying it has enhanced my enjoyment of f1 considerably.

  • in truth you can't. it's a fact of life, some people actually enjoy the made-up stuff. and where there's demand, someone can always supply.

    Hence the tabloids and all the mindless people who "know" everything about Brittney Spears.

  • i disagree. there are trustable (is that a word) people on twitter...

    Trustworthy is a word but I like yours betterer

  • you say that, but google is an arbiter of right and wrong, when it comes to every normal search you perform on google.com. so presumably that doesn't bother you? {Comment #25}

    It's not an arbiter of right and wrong. It's an arbiter of most-clicked-on-by-people-searching-for-a-given-item-combined-with-basic-anti-cheating-explicit-content-and-sponsor-weighting and... ...the rest. At no point does the algorithm attempt to decipher what is and isn't true, because that requires a sentient-level intelligence. If more people clicked on an incorrect answer to their query than a correct one, the incorrect answer would be higher in the search, all else being equal.

    The trouble is that so many people think being top of Google is life and death to them (which isn't necessarily the case, even for web-only businesses) that people mistake Google's algorithm for right and wrong.

  • The trouble is that so many people think being top of Google is life and death to them (which isn't necessarily the case, even for web-only businesses) that people mistake Google's algorithm for right and wrong.

    Maybe RG can write a new search engine. What's he doing for the rest of the week?

  • Maybe RG can write a new search engine. What's he doing for the rest of the week?

    Based on tonight, mourning.

    I'll see what I'm like in the morning.

  • If more people clicked on an incorrect answer to their query than a correct one, the incorrect answer would be higher in the search, all else being equal.

    you don't know that, nor can you prove it? that's oversimplifying a vastly complicated system.

    The trouble is that so many people think being top of Google is life and death to them (which isn't necessarily the case, even for web-only businesses) that people mistake Google's algorithm for right and wrong.

    see my previous comment about flagging hacked sites. pitpass' ranking took a huge dive a while back when google correctly flagged it as hosting malware.

    google said it was "wrong" and they took pain for that. i'm not mistaking googles algorithm one bit.

  • The trouble is that so many people think being top of Google is life and death to them (which isn't necessarily the case, even for web-only businesses) that people mistake Google's algorithm for right and wrong.

    An excellent point Alianora. Just one thing you missed - the algorithm changes frequently. Add that to the mix and you can see that whilst extremely handy, Google is also in a very powerful position.

  • i disagree. there are trustable (is that a word) people on twitter...

    Dictionary!

  • Dictionary!

    Trustable - from the George W Bush book of big words I think.

  • Trustable - from the George W Bush book of big words I think.

    Ouch.

  • OK, no journalist, my fault, podcastguruontheair

    maybe this help

    http://twitter.com/autosport_RT/f1-news

  • OK, no journalist, my fault, podcastguruontheair

    hehe :)

  • The trouble is that so many people think being top of Google is life and death to them (which isn't necessarily the case, even for web-only businesses) that people mistake Google's algorithm for right and wrong.

    There is that too. I'm wondering if there is, generally-speaking, a correlation between those who push like crazy to get high up on Google and those who use GMM etc.

  • If Google can censor their site for use by China, then they can certainly massage the results everywhere else. Does anyone remember the search engine aggregators that would go off and perform the same search on multiple sites?

    Do you remember web search before Google, and how long it took to find good info at times? {Comment #39}

    Yes. In my case, it took about as long as it does now, once I take the years of tuition I've had concerning how search engines work into account. I find Yahoo! a bit better than Google. Neither are a substitute to knowing how to search and how to use whatever tools happen to be available to you.

    At the moment, I don't use lists on Twitter because to me they seem like a layer of complication I don't need. However, I do keep a lid on how many people I follow, which allows me to think more about what I'm seeing. I don't use hashtags to search (or employ them often in typing tweets) - but I search for terms without hashes to catch passing mentions of specific subjects that might interest me. I don't have a list of people I expect to have the gospel truth - but I do remember who's tended to be accurate about what sort of information, what patterns they tend to take when retweeting/paraphrasing other people's news and what sort of patterns true and false rumours take relative to the circumstances they occurred within.

    Each part of the internet has its optimisation techniques for figuring stuff out, though some techniques are common to all research. Just as I avoid red-tops for my dead tree news service and place more in Radio 4 than my local radio station for F1 updates, I try to be careful about who and what I believe on the internet. That applies as much to Twitter as any other provider of information.

  • we see that a lot with GMM. five or six sites all run a nonsensical story and because the story is visible in several places, fans begin to believe it. that the content all came from the original source is apparently irrelevant. {Comment #46}

    True. Rule of thumb: if two sites have identical/near-identical wording (after translation) for a given tweet, their source is identical (even if neither mentions where the source is - in which case assume the intermediary is GMM unless proven otherwise).

  • we see that a lot with GMM. five or six sites all run a nonsensical story and because the story is visible in several places, fans begin to believe it. that the content all came from the original source is apparently irrelevant.

    I don't know how to combat this given their weight of numbers. {Comment #54}

    If someone developed a Tweet app removing duplicated tweets from the timeline, you'd be rid of 90% of the blindly-copied stuff. It would serve double duty as an anti-spam measure. The trouble is educating Twitter users that it would be a good idea to instal such an app - especially since it would remove some of the less thoughtful genuine retweets as well.

  • If more people clicked on an incorrect answer to their query than a correct one, the incorrect answer would be higher in the search, all else being equal.

    you don't know that, nor can you prove it? that's oversimplifying a vastly complicated system. {Comment #67}

    As vastly complicated as the average search engine's programming is, nobody has yet devised a method of getting an algorithm to determine non-algorithmic values unless the criteria for those non-algorithmic values can be defined purely by 1s and 0s. For that matter, nobody has yet devised a way of defining truth purely through 1s and 0s, let alone found a way of reliably adjusting it to each individual user with mark-ups on how each item differs from the search engine's definition of truth (which would be the ideal, but it's not clear how such a thing could be implemented manually let alone automated).

    The best that has been done so far is to define a limited domain of a particular perspective of truth through conversion of that domain and perspective to 1s and 0s. It's possible to build in pattern-building and heuristic analysis so that the algorithm can detect other examples in new material and process "borderline" examples better. The latter even allows a limited amount of learning to adapt the algorithm to detect new patterns that fit.

    Despite all this, if the domain is expanded or the algorithm needs to expand to a different, less prescriptive definition of truth, the algorithm falls over. This applies to every form of programming and is due to the current inability of computers to make paradigm shifts in their calculation methods.

    Visual search is the best example I can think of for proving this. While music and video searching have made huge strides in the last seven years, this has been due to finding ways of manually codifying patterns of sound and image and providing the search engines with access to that database (plus improved heuristics routines to adapt to accents, rare instruments and the like). New languages still require manual updates to the search engines, but both music and video searches are now practical (much to the regret of F1 YouTubers in the latter instance, for it is the main reason it is so easy for FOM to enforce its copyright there).

    Visual search has had no such major breakthrough. Why? Because while images can be reduced to 1s and 0s, there is no method of automatically codifying those pictures such that they can be made to fit an abstract concept. You can upload a picture of Michael Schumacher to the internet, but an image search engine cannot know from the image alone if it is seeing Michael Schumacher, a photoshop of someone else (pretending to be Michael or not) or a randomly-generated collection of pixels that happen to be a particular colour. That's assuming it rules out other, less plausible, possibilities.

    You can manually tell the search engine "Michael Schumacher looks like this and that but definitely not the other" but due to the vast array of visual circumstances in which people and things can be photographed, the search engine would still have a high failure rate even after many training items had been fed into the database.

    In case you're wondering, the face finding function in Facebook and many cameras relies on the geometric properties of human faces, which usually are automatically codified in a way that allows the 1s/0s method to work. This is done through comparing length and width of the element in question, checking the red/green/blue balance in the area and other more complicated analyses of the picture data itself. It can't tell whose face though - Facebook relies on users telling it who is been found by the face finder.

    However, searches that attempt to define things as different to one another as dogs and cats still struggle to get above 75% in testing (this was proven in the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures of 2008). This is because abstract concepts generally require sentience to devise - without the ability to process input subjectively, a computer cannot handle subjective information without converting it to objectivity. The definition of a cat or dog (if only visual data is considered as opposed to DNA codes or manual labelling) is subjective. Truth is even more complicated because it has both objective and subjective elements and these change depending on who is definining truth and to what purpose...

    At the moment, "truth" is more similar to the "cat/dog" problem than the "face" problem, and if anything is more difficult than either. Cats, dogs and faces usually have a similar shape to others of their kind, which is not necessarily the case for truth, even before factoring in that awkward thing called "outdoors".

    I may have simplified the situation in my initial comment on the subject. I may have simplified the situation in this one. However this is the state of the science as it currently stands. I believe that we will live to see the day someone figures out how to give computers the ability to process subjectively (i.e. make them sentient) and therefore we will also live to see search engines become able to solve this problem. However we are not in this position yet, nor are we likely to be for some years to come.

  • see my previous comment about flagging hacked sites. pitpass' ranking took a huge dive a while back when google correctly flagged it as hosting malware.

    google said it was "wrong" and they took pain for that. i'm not mistaking googles algorithm one bit. {Comment #67}

    Google still wasn't defining Pitpass as "wrong". It was defining it as "unsafe". It may sound like a small distinction and I'm sure Chris Balfe would have been equally annoyed whichever description of the algorithm was used, but Google's ability to convince people it can determine "right" and "wrong" is purely based upon people's attitude towards its algorithm, not any innate property of the algorithm itself.

  • I may have simplified the situation in my initial comment on the subject. I may have simplified the situation in this one.

    i think that i'm not smart enough to understand internet search engines, if i were, i likely wouldn't be commenting on an f1 site at midnight.

    what you're suggesting here is highly subjective in my opinion, but i don't wish to enter into a debate about it as i suspect that fact that you're also commenting on an f1 website at midnight puts you in a similar position to me.

  • Just one thing you missed - the algorithm changes frequently. Add that to the mix and you can see that whilst extremely handy, Google is also in a very powerful position. {Comment #68}

    You're right - I did miss that and Google does have a lot of power (perhaps not over me*, but over a lot of other people).

    * - The only Google service I use nowadays is YouTube, and mostly this is via the video section of Last.fm (which uses YouTube and, theoretically, other sources to supplement its own video hosting and ranks non-Last.fm videos according to date submitted within a given artist).

  • There is that too. I'm wondering if there is, generally-speaking, a correlation between those who push like crazy to get high up on Google and those who use GMM etc. {Comment #74}

    Possibly. If I've understood the way search engines work correctly though, all but the most popular sites using the service risk being marked down by Google unless the news is re-packaged. This is because search engines have been trying to cut down on duplicate sites for some years and they must surely have some programming in their algorithms that attempts to do something about it by now.

  • i think that i'm not smart enough to understand internet search engines, if i were, i likely wouldn't be commenting on an f1 site at midnight.

    what you're suggesting here is highly subjective in my opinion, but i don't wish to enter into a debate about it as i suspect that fact that you're also commenting on an f1 website at midnight puts you in a similar position to me. {Comment #82}

    If there were vacancies at a search engine company within travelling distance of my house, the JobCentre would probably make me test that theory given that one of my classmates at university got straight from there to an internship at Google UK (they probably wouldn't consider "I'm not the world's greatest fan of programming", "I'd prefer to be a librarian or even "I'm not 100% convinced I'd be any good at it despite the course content" to be valid reasons for not applying)...

  • If there were vacancies at a search engine company within travelling distance of my house, the JobCentre would probably make me test that theory

    *falls on floor in disbelief*

  • *falls on floor in disbelief*

    Did your ball pop like leo's? ;)

  • Did your ball pop like leo's? ;)

    :lol:

  • :lol:

    Life Lesson: If ever your ball starts to deflate, get off. Don't be a hero.

  • Excellent article, RG. Excellent work. :)

  • Great article RG!

  • Most amusing article RG.

    I tried to do something similar many years ago at Le Mans, starting a rumour that Damon Hill would be driving the privateer Champion Audi. I even persuaded a couple of team managers to join in. A few hours later I was talking to a certain MAGAZINE's sportscar correspondent. "Some berk is trying to start a rumour that Damon Hill's going to be in the Audi."

    Maybe the lesson for us would-be spoofsters is to make the spoof more plausible. Everyone in the industry knows that Petrov hasn't got as much money behind him as many outsiders think...

  • Oops. Failed to make clear that the reported speech in my comment belonged to the MAGAZINE's sportscar correspondent, not me.

  • Oops. Failed to make clear that the reported speech in my comment belonged to the MAGAZINE's sportscar correspondent, not me.

    I read it as his comment without that info but clearly it could be taken either way

  • I tried to do something similar many years ago at Le Mans, starting a rumour that Damon Hill would be driving the privateer Champion Audi. I even persuaded a couple of team managers to join in. A few hours later I was talking to a certain MAGAZINE's sportscar correspondent[, who said] "Some berk is trying to start a rumour that Damon Hill's going to be in the Audi." {Comment #90}

    :D Sounds like fun, even if the rumour was rumbled early on. Actually, Damon Hill probably would have done OK at Le Mans if he'd attempted it when he was younger...

  • Nicely said. I couldn't help noticed that much of the "news" you exposed was also on Eurosport, probably as a result of these fake Twitter releases. Maybe I should change my RSS to something else...

  • Nicely said. I couldn't help noticed that much of the "news" you exposed was also on Eurosport, probably as a result of these fake Twitter releases. Maybe I should change my RSS to something else...

    Hold on, where is that? Can't see anything on Eurosport?

Comments closed to new entries.